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Long bows in the storm

Shaving the beams in the sunshine
Shaving the beams in the sunshine

An exciting two days – the first day we braved the weather in the woods. Bows were shaped below thunder and hail. The second day the Wincobank 61st Scouts kindly lent us their scout house, where the access to shelter and a kettle was well received. 8 bows were crafted, one broke whilst stringing – such is the nature of wood. The level of skill from the young people was impressive, and the perseverance despite adversity was something they should be very proud of. I think we have met some of the crafts people of the future!

The bows will be tested at the Bluebell festival on the 2nd May

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Woolley Wood Bluebell Festival – 2nd May

Over hundreds of years, Woolley Wood in North Sheffield has the time to produce one of the most magnificent populations of Bluebells in South Yorkshire. To celebrate this, and the woodland’s rich industrial heritage we are holding the Bluebell Festival on the 2nd May. There will be activities for the whole family!

Facebook event page here

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Photos from Half term – Smelting!

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Squishing Clay from Woolley Wood to build the furnace
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Everyone works together to make the bricks to build the furnace. We discussed Chinese politics – we are a high brow lot!
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Building the furnace. This was Durrell One. Sadly she collapsed a bit later, so we built Durrell Two.
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Durrell Two gets a face courtesy of Joe. The fire we have lit to dry her out is monitored carefully. Sometimes with marshmallows.
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Youth workers making iron
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We add iron ore and charcoal. The bellows pump air into the furnace to get it up to 1250C, which is hot enough to turn the iron ore into metallic iron. Yvette seals the cracks that appear in the furnace.
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The bellows need to be worked for the whole day.
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Lunch on the Lost Gateway and a cat.
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One of Jason Thomson’s sculptures nearby.
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Durrell Two in the woods.
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Archaeologists at work
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Yvette explains the tapping process. We are going to get the iron out of the furnace.
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Durrell Two gives birth to a lot of Iron!
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A large lump of Iron. Some of the most we have ever had! This will be worked with a forge and anvil at Light up the Hill on November 18th or the Bluebell Festival next May.

Tour de France

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Early Saturday morning before the event

Wincobank Hill was in the international news when the world’s most famous cycle race; the Tour de France; picked Jenkin Road on the route of stage two. The road would turn out to be the steepest incline of the entire race, and ten of thousands of people gathered to watch the cyclist struggle up it.

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Roots of Iron celebrated the Hill by creating an Iron Age village. Roger and students from the University of Sheffield created the world’s first bicycle powered bloomery furnace, using clay from Woolley Woods and a bike that had been welded together (several times) in Roger’s garage. Local young people helped shape the furnace and pedal the bike to power the furnace. The Friends of Wincobank Hill, actors Chris Binns and John Overton helped provide the Celtic and Roman dramatics._MG_2845

Local schools also contributed to the atmosphere having helped Heeley City Farm decorate their Iron Age roundhouse, and create a giant torque land art that could be viewed from the air.

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